Week In Review: Auto, Security, Pervasive Computing

Automotive chip shortages; IoT security blindspots.


Automotive & transportation
Chip shortages continue to affect automotive production lines and the bottom line of automotive OEMs. Jaguar Land Rover and Daimler this week said they will reduce production because chip supply issues. Other car companies have or are planning to temporarily shut down production lines. Renault, GM, Ford, Fiat Chrysler (now Stellantis), Volkswagen, Nissan, and Honda have all reported some shutdowns or slowdowns. The shortages are also now affecting the medium and heavy commercial vehicle (MHCV) sector, reports I.H.S. Markit in a blog.

SEMI and the think tank Center for Automotive Research (CAR) plan to work together on the automotive supply chain issues. The two organizations signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) this week. Through the MOU, the organizations want to connect microelectronics manufacturing and design stakeholders with the automotive and mobility ecosystems through programs and events that advance both industries.

Cadence debuted two DSP IP cores for embedded vision and AI in high-end mobile and multi-camera automotive applications (the Tensilica Vision Q8 DSP) and for IoT, AR/VR glasses, and smart home devices (Tensilica Vision P1 DSP). The Tensilica Vision Q8 DSP can be used in automotive camera systems.

The IoT cybersecurity business will reach US$16.8 billion by 2026, when 23.6 billion devices will be connected — triple the amount connected today, said analyst firm ABI Research in a blog. Because of the fractured nature of IoT market, the IoT security business is still in its infancy. Security can’t always be a priority in some market segments. For example, functional safety products require constant availability, which makes security difficult if not impossible. In those cases, although aware of the security issues, OEMs have to design for “always available” first. Other “OEMs and vendors often choose to accept the risk, rather than remediate it during a Cost-Benefit Analysis (CBA), while many others choose not to do a CBA at all,” said ABI Research. Opportunities in IoT security are strong in the next few years, predicts the analyst firm.

A general-purpose 32-bit microcontroller (MCU) from Renesas has achieved Cryptographic Module Validation Program (CMVP) Level 3 certification under the FIPS 140-2 security standard. FIPS 140 is a National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) standard, but the certification program is a joint effort between NIST and the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security (CCCS). FIPS 140-2 certification is required by governments, financial institutions, for secure transactions. Renesas’ CMVP-certified RX65N MCU has a Trusted Secure IP (TSIP) module. The TSIP includes an encryption engine with AES, SHA, RSA, and ECC support, a true random number generator (TRNG), and an encrypted key management mechanism, according to a press release. The RX65N MCU is intended for use in human machine interface of industrial and IoT systems. Other Renesas RX chips also have the TSIP.

A new, open IoT standard protocol from FIDO Alliance puts more security in the process of connecting an IoT device to the cloud. The FIDO Device Onboard (FDO) protocol FDO uses an “untrusted installer” approach. The installer has no access to sensitive infrastructure/access control information to add a device to a network.

Pervasive computing — IoT, edge, cloud, data center, and back
Samsung Foundry certified Cadence’s Pegasus Verification System for 5nm and 7nm process technologies and now offers a process design kit (PDK). The system is designed designers achieve sign-off for a variety of markets, including mobile and hyperscale.

Synopsys introduced new design tools for hyper-convergent ICs for memory, AI, automotive, and 5G applications. The PrimeSim Continuum is a unified workflow for circuit simulation technologies, which should speed up the creation and signoff of hyper-convergent designs in SoCs. The continuum concept offers PrimeSim SPICE, PrimeSim Pro, PrimeSim HSPICE, and PrimeSimXA simulation engines. These engines are available through the PrimeWave design environment. The increased parasitics, process variability, and reduced margins at advanced process nodes may be easier to reckon with by using a unified workflow of sign-off quality simulation engines tuned for analog, mixed-signal, RF, custom digital memory designs. PrimeSim Continuum uses next-generation SPICE and FastSPICE architectures and heterogenous computing to optimize the use of CPU and GPU resources. Also announced was a library system called PrimeLib that streamlines the process of creating characterization and validation libraries for signoff.

TSMC certified Siemens’ Aprisa place-and-route tool on TSMC’s N6 process. Siemen’s acquired Aprisa from Avatar Integrated Systems in August 2020.

Xilinx introduced its Kria Portfolio of adaptive system-on-modules (SOMs) for AI applications at the edge. The modules are production-ready small form-factor embedded boards.

Codasip’s has two new FPGA Evaluation Platforms for evaluating Codasip RISC-V IP. The Platforms are designed to target Digilent boards based on Xilinx Artix-7 and Kintex-7 FPGAs.

People, companies
Vic Kulkarni, former vice president of strategy at Ansys’ Semiconductor Business Unit, has joined the Silicon Integration Initiative (Si2) as chief strategy officer. Kulkarni retired from Ansys in March 2021.

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